Song of the Open Road

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Song of the Open Road
Song of the Open Road.jpg
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
Produced by Charles R. Rogers
Written by Irving Phillips (Story)
Edward Verdier (Story)
Albert Mannheimer
Starring Jane Powell
Bonita Granville
Peggy O'Neill
Music by Charles Previn
Cinematography John W. Boyle
Edited by Truman K. Wood
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
June 1944 (1944-06)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Song of the Open Road is a 1944 musical comedy film directed by S. Sylvan Simon, from a screenplay by Irving Phillips and Edward Verdier. It was the debut film of teenage singer Jane Powell. Powell's real name was Suzanne Burce, but prior to the release of this film MGM assigned her the stage name "Jane Powell" (the name of the character she portrays in this film).[1]


Child film star Jane Powell, tired of her life being run by her stage mother, runs away from home and tries to lead a "normal" life at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. When a crop needs picking, Powell enlists the help of some celebrity friends. It was W. C. Fields's next-to-last film; he is one of several performers playing themselves in the production. In the film, Fields—who began his career as an accomplished juggler—juggles some oranges for a few moments. He remarks "This used to be my racket". Then, missing a catch, he drops the oranges and walks away muttering "used to be my racket, but it isn't anymore!".



Director S. Sylvan Simon had terrible difficulty filming scenes with W. C. Fields due to Fields' alcoholism. After lunch hour he was often nowhere to be found. This problem was solved by luring Fields into his truck early in the day and removing the ladder. Fields would often rant and complain before eventually falling asleep.[citation needed]

Although Fields often made fun of singers and singing in general, he had a fondness for the promising young singer Jane Powell and even referred to her (as "little Janie Powell") on one of his CBS radio broadcasts (preserved on transcription discs). Powell sang several songs in the film and made such an impression that MGM signed her to a contract to make a number of musical comedies for them, through the mid-1950s. Powell's real name was Suzanne Burce, but prior to the release of this film, MGM assigned her the stage name "Jane Powell", the name of the character she portrays in this film.[1]

Location shooting was done in Palm Springs, California and at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles.[2]

Award nominations[edit]

Year Result Award Category Recipient
1945 Nominated Academy Award Best Music, Original Song ("Too Much in Love") Walter Kent (Music) & Kim Gannon (Lyrics)
1945 Nominated Academy Award Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture Charles Previn


  1. ^ a b Reel Memories: Jane Powell, Turner Classic Movies, 1995. Included on the DVD Classic Musicals Double Feature: Nancy Goes to Rio/Two Weeks with Love (Warner Home Video, 2008)
  2. ^ Song of the Open Road at the American Film Institute Catalog

External links[edit]